It might be difficult to imagine anyone more prepared to implement climate action in the Global South than Three Cairns Fellow Enver Mapanda whose career in forestry has spanned almost two decades — from forest management in South Africa to planning and development in Zimbabwe to heading forestry operations for a forest carbon outfit in Uganda. Now the head of forestry operations for the forestation company Green Resources in Niassa, Mozambique, Mapanda is leading an effort to conserve and restore parts of the Miombo woodlands in Central Africa. Constituting the largest dryland forest ecosystem in Sub-Saharan Africa, the woodlands span approximately 1.9 million square kilometers over seven countries — Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, and Democratic Republic of Congo. A biodiversity hotspot and key natural resource for local populations that is also a source for carbon sequestration, parts of the woodlands are  experiencing considerable degradation and deforestation.

Mapanda enrolled in ELTI’s Tropical Forest Landscapes online certificate program to build upon her expertise and develop new methods for preserving these vulnerable areas.

“To achieve our immediate goals, I believe the training, skills, and knowledge I receive from this course will assist in securing funds, developing new programs for restoration, and introducing novel techniques for monitoring and evaluation,” says Mapanda, adding that her ultimate goal is to contribute to climate mitigation and adaption through forest conservation and restoration.

Three Cairns Fellow Linda Ogallo is also highly experienced in her field, but after working for almost a decade on building climate resilience in Africa, she says she needed a new perspective on climate adaptation strategies.

Much of the money for this work has come from donors and much of the work has been in reaction to humanitarian disasters or focused on communicating information, says Ogallo, who, as a climate change adaptation expert with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Application Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, manages the impacts of and responses to climate change in 11 countries across the horn of Africa.

“This has been important, but as the climate risks continue to increase, I’ve found myself having many conversations on the need to change our approach,” Ogallo says, noting that international crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have made this even more pressing.

The FDCE program is giving her a new perspective and helping her initiate discussions at various government levels on creative financing mechanisms and community-level energy access. Adaptation challenges, she notes, are linked to poverty, and poverty is inextricable from energy access.

I have gained a language to articulate the role of clean energy not just in mitigating climate change but, critically for Africa, in strengthening the adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities.”

Linda OgalloClimate change adaptation expert,  Nairobi, Kenya

“Before the course, I was looking for a program that offered innovative approaches to climate financing, but (FDCE) offered so much more,” she says. “I have gained a language to articulate the role of clean energy not just in mitigating climate change but, critically for Africa, in strengthening the adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities.”

New Knowledge Where It’s Needed Most

Three Cairns Fellows working on the transition to clean energy and tropical forest restoration and conservation will soon be joined by environmental professionals working in other areas, as the Three Cairns Climate Program for the Global South, launched with a generous gift from the Three Cairns Group, also supports the development of new certificate programs relevant to environmental issues pertaining to the Global South. YSE has partnered with the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning to develop a survey to better determine areas of interest, need, and priorities around climate content. While no decision will be made until the survey results are in, among the many topics being considered for new programs are urban climate leadership, international climate change communication, and food and agriculture in a changing climate.

“Eighty percent of the new urban population growth between now and 2050 is expected to take place in the Global South, especially Asia and Africa,” says Karen Seto, Frederick C. Hixon Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science. “Given these trends, there is both an opportunity and a responsibility to train leaders in the Global South to help make their cities more resilient and sustainable. The twin challenges will be to simultaneously avoid emissions and build resilience.”

Anthony Leiserowitz, founder and director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, who recently presented results from surveys of public opinion about climate change in China, India, the United States, and in 110 countries, territories, and areas worldwide, says there is a growing need around the world for effective climate change communications.

“Many in the climate change community lack the capacity to use 21st century communication strategies, tactics, and tools. Likewise, social scientists have generated many insights that can make climate change communication campaigns more effective, yet most organizations lack the capacity to implement them,” he says. “To help bridge this gap, YPCCC plans to provide courses, workshops, and training programs in climate change communication for both Yale students and climate change professionals around the world.”

Effective communication strategies are critical for Three Cairns Fellow and TFL participant Peter Bulimo. As global ambassador for the nonprofit Youth4Nature, Bulimo compiles impactful stories and mentors Kenya’s youth on communicating their experiences through storytelling. These stories help promote change at a time when progress in forest conservation has been stifled by top-down approaches that often end up separating communities from their forests, resulting in further degradation of tropical landscapes, he says.

“TFL has been an eye-opener thus far. I am glad I am now empowered to pass what I’m learning and this new knowledge to those who need it most,” Bulimo says.

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